Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Elton John and…Jon-Anthoni Nieves.
The 26-year-old Southwestern College singer-songwriter has not yet pushed his way on to the list of heavyweight Christmas song hitmakers, but his “Good Ol’ Christmas Feelin’” was a smash at Balboa Parks holiday scrum December Nights.
Scores of December Nighters were left whistling or humming the infectious tune long after Nieves had packed up. He has pleaded guilty to planting an earworm, but it was a wriggle of happiness.
“I always tend to have a positive outlook and maybe I can share it with people,” he said.
Nieves performed “Good Ol’ Christmas Feelin’” at December Nights 2014 and 2015. He said his song’s popularity inspired him to adapt it into a children’s book featuring his lyrics, which reference modern secular icons of the holiday season and the religious roots of Christmas.
Nieves said the book is in the process of being illustrated and it would be ready for Christmas 2018. “Good Ol’ Christmas Feelin’” features lyrics that are all about channeling the Christmas spirit through the decorating of the Christmas tree, the building of snowmen, promoting peace on Earth with a shout out to baby Jesus, too.
In 2014 Nieves recorded an album titled “Together for Christmas” with the help of music instructor Tracy Burklund-Becker. She said they recorded a duet for the album.
“He is extremely creative and loves collaborating with other creative minds and talent,” she said. “As his former music instructor, it is rewarding to see him continue to create and accomplish his goals.”
Nieves has also recorded a country album called “Everything Is Golden” he plans to release in summer 2018. Inspired by Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, Nieves said he decided to experiment with country-folk music to express himself in a different way.
Singer-songwriter Michelle Arias has collaborated with Nieves for three years. Now an SDSU student, she is a former member of the SWC Jazz Vocal Ensemble. “Your Kiss” features Arias’s soft singing voice and marked the start of their musical partnership. Arias is very talented, Nieves said, and he feels fortunate to be able to sing with her at Lestat’s on Adams Ave and The Red Spade Theater in Old Town.
Nieves has worked as a teacher at Concordia Church and School in Chula Vista, he said, and the experience working with children fueled his desire to write the book.
“Teachers aren’t doing enough in the classroom to inspire and motivate children to want to create and dream,” he said.
Nieves has found time to do both.